The eternal magic of Tagore’s music, stories inspires filmmakers

May 8th, 2010 - 9:14 am ICT by IANS  

By Robin Bansal
New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) Every morning schools in India and Bangladesh reverberate to “Jana gana mana” and “Amar shonar Bangla” - the respective national anthems of the two countries - both penned by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The poet, who has 2,230 songs to his credit, has inspired not only Bengali filmmakers but Hindi directors also with his stories and music.

The film fraternity remembers Tagore and his creations as “eternal” on his 150th birth anniversary that falls May 9.

“Rabindra sangeet is eternal. The popularity of the songs has been consistent from the time these were written and it will remain the same because Tagore has woven every emotion in them through his words and music. The results can be seen not only in Bengali but also in Hindi,” National Award-winning filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta told IANS over phone from Kolkata.

“Take for example the use of Rabindra Sangeet in ‘Tere mere milan’ in Hindi film ‘Abhimaan’. It is actually inspired from a Bengali song ‘Jodi tare nai chini go sokhi’. Tagore has all the components in terms of emotions in his songs, and filmmakers are going to take reference from them for times immemorial,” he added.

Singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya said: “Tagore’s songs have almost become like a software (considering the wide usage). They are eternally modern and are being used since the time they were written.

“Till date his work inspires not just Bengali songs but in other regional languages also in some form or the other. Even S.D. Burman used them and his works will live for ever,” he added.

Singers in West Bengal and Bangladesh base their entire career on singing Tagore’s musical masterpieces, which are primarily influenced by Hindustani classical, Baul, Bhatiyali and folk songs of India.

Bengali cinema has been the biggest fan of Tagore’s work, which is evident from the number of his poems used in Bengali films.

Some of the memorable numbers are:

“Chorono dhorite deogo amare” by Hemanta Mukherjee in “Dadar Kirti”; “Ami jene shune bish korechi paan” by Sumitra Sen in “Nabaraag”; “Bidhir badhon katbe tumi emon shoktimaan” by Kishore Kumar in “Ghore Baire”; “Hridoy amar prokash holo” by Jayashree Dasgupta in “Paromitar Ek Din”; “Rong lagale bone bone” in “Shubhoratri”; “Bajilo kaharo beena” by Mamata Shankar in “Aguntuk”; “Amar aaat pohalo” in “Alo”; “Praan chai chokku na chai” in “Alo”; “Sraboner dharar moton” in “Alo”; “Danriye acho tumi amar gaaner o pare” in “Alo”; “Ami chini go chine tomare ” by Kishore Kumar in “Charulata”; “Jokhon porbe na more” by Hemanta Mukherjee in ” Bibhas”; “Ei kothati mone rekho” in “Chowringhee”; and “Jani ne jani ne” by Arati Mukherjee in “Sankha Bela”.

Tagore’s song were also a must in legendary Bengali actor Uttam Kumar’s movies, such as “Ami poth bhola ek pothik esechi” by Asha Bhosle and Hemanta Mukherjee in “Mon Niye”; “Amar mallika bone, jakhan prothom dharechhe koli” in “Bicharak”; “Tobu mone rekho” in “Agniswar”; and “Eii kathati mone rekho” in “Chowrangee”.

Filmmakers also lapped up his short stories and novels and transformed them into movie scripts.

Bimal Roy (1961) produced “Kabuliwala”, based on Tagore’s immortal short story while B.R. Chopra produced Dev Anand-Geeta Bali-starrer “Zalzala”, an adaptation of Tagore’s novel “Char Adhaya”.

Oscar-award winner filmmaker Satyajit Ray also wielded the megaphone for movies based on Tagore’s stories. He made “Teen Kanya” based upon Tagore’s short stories and “Charulata” on “Nastanirh”.

“Rabindranath Tagore’s works are a challenge for any director to film as their literary values are eternal,” Ray had once said.

Tagore’s work has also been a great source of inspiration to veteran filmmaker Tapan Sinha. He made three films on his stories - “Kabuliwala”, “Khudito Pashan” and “Atithi”.

Popular Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta said: “Rabindra Sangeet is our heritage and it has become a part and parcel of our lives. The more we discover it, the more we’ll know it. It is too deep to know it. The more we unravel it, it’ll come out with new meaningsm.

“Rabindra Sangeet is not something regional. Rabindranath Tagore is international and Rabindra Sangeet is universal. It’ll never lose its charm and is everlasting.”

As of now there is no copyright on Rabindra Sangeet, which has also resulted in liberties like remixes. Director Anjan Dutt used a remixed version of Tagore’s song “Pagla hawa badol dine” in his movie “The Bong Connection”.

(Robin Bansal can be contacted at

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